Return to the incident list: Incident List Wing Malfunction or Deflation PPG Type: Type of Injury:

Pilot Details

Age: 0 Weight: 210 Gender: Highest rating held at the time of the incident: Pilot experience level:

Gear Details

Wing Brand: Model: Mac Para Eden II Wing (30 m, DHV1-2) with 125 hours on wing. Size: Paramotor Frame: PAP Corsair M21Y (90 lbs) with

Incident Details

January 1, 2006 Location of the incident: , Type of Incident:

Approximately 8 to 10 pilots were out on San Luis Pass at West Beach, Galveston, TX for a day of flying. The airspace was busy as there was an event going on approximately 1 mile away and a helicopter was flying the area just offshore at low altitudes. A number of times, the helicopter had buzzed individual pilots very close.

From an earlier flight in the day, I had been warned by radio that one of the fishermen in the area had put up a kite and it was difficult to see approximately 500 yards to our south of our LZ. On that landing approach for that flight, I did not observe the kite and assumed the individual had landed it.

About 30 minutes later, I would then observe the kite back up in the air while I was on the ground. A subsequent flight, I launched with the winds out of the south. At the time of the launch, I was focused on a helicopter that had been flying the area to make sure I was out of his path and rotor. I launched and since the winds were out of the south, I was launching in the direction of the kite that had been up in the air earlier. Initially, I did not see the kite and found myself upwind of it when I finally did see it. It was at about 150′ up in the air being flown 100 yards off the coastline. Not knowing whether I had potentially hit it, I did a complete visual inspection of my wing from the air. I then built altitude in the vicinity of the kite while keeping my eyes on the lines. Someone would later tell me it was a fairly clear Barbie Kite with fishing line and a fishing pole on it.

I then exited the area and flew up and down the beach for 20 to 30 minutes. As I was returning from my flight down the beach, I specifically looked the area over for the kite and did not see the kite in the air nor did I see the individual where he was earlier.

I continued my southern path near the water’s edge along the coastline and made a western turn where the shoreline turned. As I was approaching an elevated road linking two islands, I felt for the very first time a wing tip collapse. I was no more than 50′ above the ground and it instantly recovered. If there was an altitude drop, I did not feel it. This would be my only hint that I had a problem. As I was actively flying, but requiring little input, I did not visually look at my wing. If I had, I would have been warned of the problem.

Thinking that for some reason I was in a thermal area and not able to understand why it should be thermals, but realizing I was flying crosswind, I turned into the wind (south) and did a 270° left hand turn. I then built up a little bit of altitude of approximately 100′ and started flying in the direction of the landing zone towards the rest of my friends.

As I approached the area, I saw everyone out motioning for me to land. I thought it was strange as I did not see any police or any appearance of someone injured, but I kicked my legs to respond I understood the signal.

I setup for my approach, and then began a powered landing killing the motor when I was a foot or two off the ground. I did a single knee bend and was slightly surprised as all my landings in the past few weeks have been perfect and thought I should have nailed that one as well. My wing continued flying and I stood up and went to turn to drop my wing. As my wing begins dropping, I observe just prior to it hitting the ground that there was a tear. Now, I understood why I had been asked to land.

Other than that slight wing-tip collapse that I didn’t think a whole lot about as I have been bounced around before much more significantly, the wing behaved perfectly. Nobody actually witnessed me hitting the kite, except perhaps the kite owner that was nowhere to be found.

Following the incident, one pilot later commented the guy flying the kite had increased it’s elevation to approximately 800′. Assuming that to be the case, my visual inspection of the skies would probably not have caught it as I came back into the area. I cringe when some pilots fly perpendicular to the beach 40-60 yards offshore at altitudes of 150 to 200′ as I always try to fly in a manner that would provide for a safe landing in the event of an engine out (and I have had a few).

In hindsight, I should have visually inspected the wing after the wing tip collapse that I felt as it was a new situation I had not experienced before, even though it felt as a very minor event. I will also be re-evaluating flight profiles when flying in the area of beaches. Kites are not a paraglider’s best friend.

I am also very much aware, and can not overemphasize, how stable the Mac Para Eden II wing was after the incident. The wing remained stable, and continued flying. That told me Mac Para has invested a significant amount of time and resources into the engineering of a wing that will continue flying despite a major breech of the airfoil. I estimate the 4 center cells will need complete replacement to repair the wing so it can fly again.

I have been giving strong consideration to a reserve, and this incident to me speaks the need for a reserve. Rather than fly over the LZ area where I was waved down, I came very very close to flying higher. The situation could have been much worse.

Flight Window: Wind Speed: Type: Phase of Flight: Type of Injury: Collateral Damage: Analysis of the incident (additional input by the incident investigation team): Photos (if available):

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